Cards pegged back

Brian Caffarey
11:57pm, Tue 11th Jan 2011
Dover Athletic 2 Woking 2
11 January 2011

The Cards put on a good performance this evening, taking the lead twice but being pegged back on each occasion by the home side. In the end a draw was probably a fair result, although both sides wanted a win and went in search of three points right till the final whistle.

With probably not more than 30 Woking fans present, the Cards lined up in what looked like a 4-5-1 formation, with Joe McNerney restored at the back and with Jerome Maledon in to replace Joe Keehan, who has returned to Rushden and Diamonds.

The game didn’t get going in the first 15 minutes, with play being interrupted twice for injuries to Dover players, both incidents resulting in substitutions. Woking’s first real attack came shortly afterwards as Sam Hurrell, seeing quite a lot of the ball, had a shot blocked and then Flitney, the Dover keeper, had to clear twice, once after a poor punch. A few minutes later a nice move involving Lee Sawyer, Hurrell and Elvis Hammond ended with Hammond’s shot also being blocked.

Dover began to get more into the game about midway through the half as Long was given space on the left of the Woking area, only to fire tamely past the far post – a move repeated shortly afterwards by Simmonds.

Dover always looked threatening from set pieces and, on the half hour mark, Simmonds almost profited from a knock-down from a corner but his lunge took the ball wide of the goal and he found himself flagged for being marginally offside too.

However, it was the Cards who drew first blood a minute later following an excellent, swift break out of defence. Hurrell sped down the left flank, playing in Hammond, who finished superbly into the far corner to put the Cards 1-0 up.

Unfortunately, the lead lasted a mere six minutes and it was no great surprise that the Whites’ equaliser came from a set piece. Simmonds stole in from a corner and, unchallenged, rose to nod the ball past Andy Little from close range.

Elvis Hammond sought to restore Woking’s advantage with one of his characteristic, clever runs down the bye-line but Wallis responded with a pile-driver which flew narrowly over the bar.

More chances flowed as the game moved into injury time. Aswad Thomas shot wide from distance; Little punched clear; Ricky Anane sliced over his own bar; and Moses Ademola, taken by surprise as the ball unexpectedly reached him in the box, could only watch as the ball went across him in the goalmouth.

Half-time: Dover Athletic 1 Woking 1

The Cards enjoyed some good possession in the early part of the second half, passing the ball well along the ground and probing for openings. Thomas and Hurrell made useful progress at times down Woking’s left but few chances were created, with only a couple of off-target shots from Hurrell to show for a period of relative dominance. Dover responded, though, with a couple of more direct attacks and Little had to produce a terrific save in the 59th minute, leaping to his left to claw away Simmonds’ rasping effort.

Dover threw on their goal talisman, Adam Birchall, but it looked as though it was Long, a minute later, who had given them the lead as a fine pass bisected the Woking defence. But, much to the dismay of the home contingent, the linesman’s flag wiped out Long’s finish.

Graham Baker reinforced the Woking attack as he threw on Dave Gilroy for Lee Sawyer, with Ademola often making it three up front. Adam Doyle had an effort cleared off the line before Little was again called into action to deny Birchall.

Woking regained the initiative in the 70th minute with a lovely move. Thomas galloped down the left flank before firing in a low cross which Ademola, moving in, met perfectly, side-footing home emphatically past Flitney to make the score 2-1 to the Cards.

Gilroy threatened to extend the lead as he had a shot blocked and then nicked the ball away from Flitney. After the ball was pumped back in Hurrell had a run across the face of the area before the attack petered out. Flitney almost gave the Cards a helping hand as a poor kick set Anane free; Gilroy met his cross but his header was from an awkward angle and looped over the bar.

Woking continued to have their share of the attacking moves as Hammond’s clever footwork won several corners and, as the minutes ticked down, it looked as though the Cards might hold on to gain all three points. But, in the 83rd minute, some poor defending allowed Dover to make headway through the middle, with the ball then being played out left to Long, who side-footed home across Little and into the far corner.

With a point not really suiting either side, both teams continued to carve out openings. Thomas’s inviting low cross went begging. Birchall tested Little again and the Woking keeper then had to save at close range, followed by Thomas clearing off his line. With two minutes remaining McNerney rose at the far post to meet a Woking corner but his header was just wide of the target. Little was immediately back in action, just managing to grab a cross one-handed to foil another Dover attack.

Craig Faulconbridge was thrown on in injury time and might have welcomed an opportunity to meet an Ademola cross but the latter blasted a shot over the bar instead.

The Cards should take some confidence from this performance. With a bit more defensive solidity – Dover’s second goal in particular came from some unnecessary elaboration – Graham Baker’s side might well have taken all three points.

Woking: Andy Little, Ricky Anane, Aswad Thomas, Mark Ricketts, Joe McNerney, Adam Doyle, Moses Ademola, Jerome Maledon, Elvis Hammond (Craig Faulconbridge 90), Lee Sawyer (Dave Gilroy 65), Sam Hurrell

Unused subs: Matt Pegler, Alan Inns, Reiss Noel

Booked: Aswad Thomas, Adam Doyle

My MOTM: Elvis Hammond (pictured)

Attendance: 765

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